Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wax Works West and Taska's Ecstacy

Sorry I was lax in my writing last week.  I was caught up in a web of beeswax and pigment.
Mom came out to California so we could drive down to Aptos, outside of Santa Cruz for a weekend of encaustic workshops at Wax Works West.  If your are remotely intersted in learning to paint with encaustics Wax Works West is AMAZING.  All 3 teachers, Wendy Aikin, Judy Stabile, and Daniella Woolfe, are accomplished artists and wonderful instructors.  Explore www.waxworkswest.com and their personal websites to see just what I mean.  Now I will give you a little history.
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Encaustic painting is the use of beeswax, resin, and pigment to create layer upon layer of translucent color and images on wood.  The art of painting with wax dates back to the Egyptian portraits done around 100-300 AD.
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These were painted in life and then mounted to the front of the subject's coffin, just in case you forgot who was buried where...

The 1950's saw a resurgence of encaustic work with Jasper Johns.  Personally I am most interested in the oldest and the newest explorations of the medium.  
I don't know if it was the fumes or what, but I was in heaven.  I have played with wax a little in my work,but was always disappointed in the results and the struggle.  I felt like this medium was made just for me.  I was so overwhelmed by the inspiration bombarding my head I got exhausted just imagining what I could do.  Here is a snapshot of my pallet.  
note the torch pointed at the fire extinguisher

That, by the way, is Aliziran Orange in the bottom center.  Yes that color is that vibrant.  It rose through the layers to the surface.   More iamages of my practice work to come.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Isabelle de Borchgrave, an inspiration

Isabelle de Borchgrave 
Isabelle de Borchgrave has joined the ranks of Frida Kahlo, Artemisia Gentileschi, and Nick Bantock.  I just found another hero.  Her exhibition, Pulp Fashion, at the Legion of Honor is stunning.

She creates full scale and full detail historic costumes out of paper.  100% paper.  She paints large sheets, hand prints designs, and recreates patterns to achieve breathtaking interpretations of the entire ensembles.  Lace, ribbons, feathers, pearls, chains, all the nuances out of just paper.  How can paper emulate silk?  Borchgrave will show you.
The exhibit does not take up too many rooms, but each room is a treasure to occupy the eyes for hours.  She even created a tent out of paper to set the some of the costumes in context.
While I was there I was overcome with the urge to just sit down on the floor and cry.  I wanted so desperately to be in the middle of creating one of those costumes right then and there.  It was deep seeded desire that made me ache.  I hope one day I can create something that draws that sort of response from myself. So I went home and went straight to the studio to start dressing my next bedouin in paper.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Your Papers, PLEASE

I am up to my ears in paperwork- business license, seller's permit, business bank account applications.... let's talk about something fun for a change.  
Ann McMillan, a friend and accomplished painter, led me to The Sketchbook Project.
I just signed up and will receive a blank sketchbook in the mail.  I chose the theme- "Writing on the Wall"  I know it has morbid connotations but, I actually like the idea of using the sketchbook to explore my fascination of petroglyphs and pictographs.  There was also the theme "Prehistory" but I thought that was too obvious.  (I really want to do a mural/instillation on pictographs, now I just need someone else who is desperate for a mural in their house- any takers?)  So I fill my project sketchbook and send it the Brooklyn Art Library.  There it will be digitized and exhibited.  Pretty cool!  Now I just need to get in on The 1000 Journals.....